Purdue Pharma, the makers of the highly addictive painkiller OxyContin, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Sunday as part of an agreement for settling a myriad of lawsuits it faces over the nation’s opioid crisis.
The agreement is expected to provide over $10 billion to “address the opioid crisis,” the company said in a statement.
The bankruptcy filing is also part of the framework for settling lawsuits the company faces from 24 state attorneys general, the company added. As part of the settlement — which is pending court approvals — the Sackler family must contribute a minimum of $3 billion in addition to their pharmaceutical company.
“This unique framework for a comprehensive resolution will dedicate all of the assets and resources of Purdue for the benefit of the American public,” Steve Miller, the chairman of Purdue’s board of directors said in a statement.
“This settlement framework avoids wasting hundreds of millions of dollars and years on protracted litigation, and instead will provide billions of dollars and critical resources to communities across the country trying to cope with the opioid crisis,” he added. “We will continue to work with state attorneys general and other plaintiff representatives to finalize and implement this agreement as quickly as possible.”
Lawyers who have been representing more than 2,000 communities in the civil suit against Purdue Pharma said in a statement, “In anticipation of Purdue’s bankruptcy filing, we worked together with county, city, state, and territory government representatives to negotiate a structure to be approved by a bankruptcy court.”
“As a result of these collaborative efforts, and unlike other bankruptcies that tie up company revenues, the bankruptcy filing will not prevent us from finalizing an agreement with Purdue to bring opioid recovery resources into the communities we represent,” attorneys Paul J. Hanly Jr., Paul T. Farrell Jr., and Joe Rice, the executive committee co-leads from the National Prescription Opiate Litigation, added in a statement.
When news of the tentative settlement was announced last week, however, many state attorneys vowed to keep fighting the makers of OxyContin, the painkiller that many blame for fueling the nationwide opioid epidemic.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro called the news of the tentative settlement a “slap in the face” to alleged victims in a statement last Wednesday.